The Tar Heel 10 Miler,
Was actually pretty fun,
Now that everything,
Is said and done.
I was feeling stressed the night before,
And having difficulty sleeping,
Because I felt underprepared;
I was struggling to stop worries from creeping.
I gave myself permission,
To simply show up at the starting line,
Having the courage to run was enough,
Knowing that if I didn’t run well, it’d still be fine.
The weather was perfect,
With Carolina blue skies,
I held onto my peace,
So I could deflect the fearsome lies.
The race was off,
I was running a decent pace,
I felt plenty strong,
Excited about how I’d place.
Near the 8 mile mark,
Laurel Hill began,
Almost a mile ascent,
“I think I can!”
I kept my head down,
Having learned before not to search for the top,
Otherwise, the mental struggle is too much,
And I might think I need to stop.
One foot in front of the other,
Steadily, I climbed,
When I heard a troubled father,
As I approached from behind.
He was talking to some other runners,
“How much longer is this hill?”
He didn’t think he would make it,
But he was going to try, still.
I passed their group,
And his son matched my speed,
Slowly, but surely,
We took the lead.
A short while later,
This kid was out of steam,
He looked pretty young,
Twelve, maybe thirteen?
He began to walk,
So I said “You’ve got this!
The long hill is almost over,
This is the last twist!”
I saw his eyes instantly,
Transition from defeat to hope,
And he said “Really?”
Then took off, leaving smoke.
We finished together,
Him slightly in front of me,
I think both of us,
Learned a valuable theme.
I hope he learned that even,
When you think you can’t,
You can always keep going,
If you silence the negative internal rant.
And I reaffirmed my belief,
That this is the meaning of life:
To do your best,
And reach out to those in strife.
We’re all running a race,
And we all face challenging hills,
So when you see someone struggling,
Helping them can be your thrill.
Had I not felt,
His same fatigue,
I wouldn’t have known what to say,
To help him maintain his speed.
I wouldn’t have known his fears,
Or the mental war going on inside,
I wouldn’t have known that encouraging him,
Would help his hopelessness subside.
I was on cloud nine,
As I crossed the finish,
Then I met some familiar eyes,
That made me grimace.
This spectacular gent,
Had stood me up on a date,
It was years earlier,
And I had to run into him, great.
His eyes looked concerned,
When our gaze met,
So I tried to be kind,
But how could I forget?
I looked through his eyes,
And continued to walk by,
Though part of me was curious,
And wanted to ask him “Why?”
I bring this up,
Because sometimes people are unkind,
They make assumptions and act accordingly,
Because they don’t know what’s going on in your mind.
I don’t care who it is,
We’ve all had people make us feel small,
Instead of being mean back,
Be brave and stand tall.
Instead of treating others,
The way you’ve been treated,
Show kindness and love,
That’s how darkness is defeated.